Prior to the birth of my baby girl, I embarked on a year long journey to improve my health. I jokingly called it getting “pre-baby body ready.” My journey included optimising nutrition, healing my gut, tending to my mental and emotional wellbeing, and facilitating my body’s ability to function as it was designed. And in my approach to my own fertility, I sought to create an environment that would establish a lifetime of health for my baby. As a mother and a doctor, I am a firm believer in a holistic/ integrative approach towards fertility.
Why a Holistic Approach to Fertility is Better
To cultivate the most fertile soil, a gardener sows his seeds in spring! Shouldn’t we then take much more care for our precious child who is in the making? While for most parents pregnancy starts and ends with prenatal vitamins, examining the entirety of each parent’s health is of pivotal importance. Not to forget, taking care of the mind, emotions, and the physical body are just as important of holistic fertility. It is a common misconception that only the mother’s health is of the greatest value, as even the health of the sperm is also an equally important factor. The foremost thing to understand here, is that this preconception care must start at least 4 to 6 months before the couple begins trying for a baby. Here is the way to go about it!
Holistic Fertility and Preconception Care:
In my clinic, we focus on the whole person and take an individualized approach to fertility and preconception care. As women, we all have different needs that must be addressed in order to improve our hormones and our health. A one-size-fits-all approach is neither effective, nor advantageous before the baby comes. The following are the major areas we focus on in my clinic. I understand that navigating your health can feel complicated and confusing at times. I’m here to help!
Optimize Your Hormones:
To optimise your fertility every cycle, use gentle and natural therapy, as it is of utmost importance to restore balance to your hormones.
Manage stress better: Find ways to not only begin reducing stress in your life, but also effective ways of coping with stress.Stress is inevitable and once your little one arrives there will be new stressors that you have not experienced before. By finding ways to manage your stress you will create a better balance of hormones in your body, release tension rather than storing it and increase your likelihood of conceiving.
Switch to whole foods:
Switching to a full foods diet can facilitate your overall nutrition and make sure you are minimizing unhealthy fats and sources of calories. Eat well everyday because no one can guarantee what the next trimester can bring for you.
Believe in a Natural Detox: Our body, for the most part, is capable of incredible resilience. By supporting our body’s innate ability to detoxify we can create a system that is fully functional and in a state of ideal health. Natural detox practices should be started 4 to 6 months prior to conception. If you suspect high levels of heavy metals in your body, then please talk with an experienced doctor about testing and the timing of treatment if necessary. I do not advise women to take up any aggressive treatments for heavy metal within 6 months of their conception.
Eliminate Environmental Toxins:
Watch your beauty product closely, as they contain chemicals that are toxic to your body and have the ability to disrupt your hormones. Limiting exposure and removing these products from your personal environment will benefit you and your family for years to come.
Take care of your dental health:
Research has shown that unresolved dental issues can result in premature birth, preeclampsia, and delivery of a small-for-gestational age infant. Having a teeth cleaning and dental exam are of utmost importance, yet often overlooked piece of fertility and preconception care.
Optimize Gut Health:
The mother’s microbiome is the child’s microbiome. A healthy microbiome is essential for your health and the baby’s immune system. In addition, gut infections that are undetected can create nutrient deficiencies, cause hormonal imbalances, increase inflammation and inhibit your ability to become pregnant or maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Comprehensive Laboratory Testing:
This can help you establish a baseline for your health and give you direction on ways you can improve. In addition, common nutrient deficiencies can be identified and corrected prior to conception. This will help you determine which prenatal vitamins are best for you as well.